I was on stage last month on Broadway with Martin Short at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. I was prepared — sort of — and he knew I was there to be a part of his Jiminy Glick scene in “Fame Becomes Me.” I was a hit.
Last Saturday night, I was on stage at the Geffen Theater with Carrie Fisher. I was not prepared nor was she. As part of her act — Carrie brings an unsuspecting male on stage for a brief dance. I was the unsuspecting male. She couldn’t identify me because of the bright stage lights. As she led me up the stairs, she asked “What’s your name?” When I told her “Army,” she could not believe it was I. And I couldn’t believe I was up there with Carrie whom I had known — and written about –since she was born Oct.21, 1956.
On Monday, her day off the show, we talked (on the phone) about the unplanned (stage) reunion. I read her the item I had printed Oct. 22, the day after she was born. Eddie Fisher was so faint on the arrival of his baby daughter yesterday at St. Joseph’s nurses put a wet towel around his neck.
A fan asked for his autograph as he left the hospital and he signed it: “Eddie Fisher, boy father.”
The next day I wrote: “The Eddie Fishers’ BevHills house will be repaired in tie for them to carry baby Carrie home later this week.”
And Wednesday I continued: “Fan mags art vying to get first pix of the Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds baby, but Eddie himself took the first foto.”
Then on Thursday, “If the Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds arrival had been a boy, they planned to name him, David Rose.”
Then Friday: “Workmen are rushing repairs on the Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds’ house but it doesn’t look like the place will be ready before Monday so Debbie remains in the hospital over the weekend.”
Debbie Reynolds will not be able to attend Carrie’s bow Wednesday — she’s appearing in Laughlin at Riverside Resorts. And, Carrie told me Eddie is not well enough to fly from San Francisco. Carrie had also invited both to her 50th birthday party last month. She got Eddie’s phone number from Elizabeth Taylor (who also was not well enough to attend). Taylor is a good friend of Carrie’s and, “She stayed at my house between husbands.”
Debbie has, however, attended four of Carrie’s preview shows and she’ll host the Jan. 10 closing party. I reached Debbie (by phone) between planes Monday and she said Carrie was “brilliant. She had the audience in the palm of her hands. I had been trying to get her on stage for 35 years. I thought I’d never live that long.” (She’s 74 and works 42 weeks a year — next in Vegas at the Sun Coast Hotel). Carrie’s brother Todd has been very helpful with the technical ends of the show. He’ll be here.
Warren Beatty (stag) has attended two previews and has offered “a couple of suggestions.” He had given Carrie her first screen role. It was in “Shampoo” in 1975 and she kiddingly recalls how she was the only virgin on the set, “Warren offered to alleviate that condition (her virginity).” He didn’t. The “condition” was remedied during “Star Wars,” she recalls in a hilarious bit as Princess Leia.
Among others in her repertoire who has also attended previews was ex-husband Bryan Lourd. Carrie, who displays her singing in the show’s theme: “Happy Days Are Here,” is writing six one-hour shows based on her boo, “The Best Awful” which Oscar winner Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty”) and Dan Jinks are producing. She has put her problems behind her as she sings “Happy Days Are Here” but she wishes she could quit — smoking.
Carrie takes the night off, Friday, Nov. 17 as the stage will be occupied by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Jon Stewart. Gil Cates, producing director, set the duo for a Geffen gala. He’d hired him to host last year’s Oscars. They’ll interview each other and it should be interesting in view of last week’s national and international events.
The evening will assist theater complex which is now only three-$ million away from the $20 million goal. The site has been transformed into two magnificent houses. The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater has been transformed into stadium seating for Ricky J. “So audiences can see his tricks up close,” Cates demonstrated to me. He will take the directing reins on the Geffen stage on “A’ Picasso” by Jeffrey Hatcher next Feb. The Geffen and Kenis are two shiny jewels for Westwood.